Mystery surrounds death of American contractor detained in Yemen

The State Department said Tuesday that an American contractor had died in Yemen weeks after being detained in that war-torn country.

In this photo taken Monday, Aug. 3, 2015, fighters against Shiite rebels known as Houthis gather at the road leading to Al-Anad base near Aden in the southern province of Lahej, Yemen. The capture of the Al-Anad base was a significant victory for the forces allied to Yemen's exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in their battle to reverse the gains of Houthis. (AP Photo/Wael Qubady)

State Department spokesman William Cocks confirmed the death of John Hamen Tuesday, but did not provide a cause of death. A statement provided to the Cincinnati Enquirer said that further details were not being made available “out of respect for the privacy of Mr. Hamen’s family.”

The Enquirer reported that Hamen’s wife Jen posted on Facebook that she was told of her husband’s death on Friday afternoon by “a few people from different agencies.” Her post said that Hamen had “died while in detainment and then was taken to a hospital.”

“Our family is heartbroken right now,” Jen Hamen continued. “I have lost the love of my life, my best friend, and my 7 kids have lost the best dad ever!”

John Hamen was detained Oct. 20 after arriving in the conflict-ravaged Arab country on a U.N. aircraft last month, according to his wife’s post. He was working for a company that manages U.N. facilities in the capital, Sanaa, which is controlled by Shiite Houthi rebels.

A native of Ohio who lived with his family in Virgina, Hamen was an Army veteran who most recently served as a Joint Training Team Communications Observer at the U.S. Special Operations Command Air Force Base in Florida, according to his Linkedin page. He left that position in February 2012.

Michael Bruns, a childhood friend of Hamen’s told the Enquirer that Hamen will be buried with full honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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